HAROUN ER RESHID AND THE WOMAN OF THE BARMECIDES. (84)

They tell that Haroun er Reshid was sitting one day to do away grievances, when there came up to him a woman and said to him, "O Commander of the Faithful, may God accomplish thine affair and cause thee rejoice in that which He hath given thee and increase thee in elevation! Indeed, thou hast done justice (85) and wrought equitably." (86) Quoth the Khalif to those who were present with him, "Know ye what this woman meaneth by her saying?" And they answered, "Of a surety, she meaneth not otherwise than well, O Commander of the Faithful." "Nay," rejoined Haroun; "she purposeth only in this an imprecation against me. As for her saying, 'God accomplish thine affair!' she hath taken it from the saying of the poet, 'When an affair is accomplished, its abatement (87) beginneth. Beware of cessation, whenas it is said, "It is accomplished."' As for her saying 'God cause thee rejoice in that which He hath given thee,' she took it from the saying of God the Most High, 'Till, whenas they rejoiced in that which they were given, we took them suddenly and lo, they were confounded!' (88) As for her saying, 'God increase thee in elevation!' she took it from the saying of the poet, 'No bird flieth and riseth up on high, but, like as he flieth, he falleth.' And as for her saying, 'Indeed, thou hast done justice and wrought equitably,' it is from the saying of the Most High, '[If ye deviate (89) or lag behind or turn aside, verily, God of that which ye do is aware;' (90) and] 'As for the transgressors,' (91) they are fuel for hell[-fire]." (92)

Then he turned to the woman and said to her, "Is it not thus?" "Yes, O Commander of the Faithful," answered she; and he said, "What prompted thee to this?" Quoth she, "Thou slewest my father and my mother and my kinsfolk and tookest their goods." "Whom meanest thou?" asked the Khalif, and she replied, "I am of the house of Bermek." (93) Then said he to her, "As for the dead, they are of those who are past away, and it booteth not to speak of them; but, as for that which I took of wealth, it shall be restored to thee, yea, and more than it." And he was bountiful to her to the utmost of munificence.




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